Russell Tyrone Jones passed away in 2004 at the age of 35. The widow of the late rapper, better known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard, claims Wu-Tang Clan Productions owes his estate at least $1 million in unpaid royalties.
Variety reports Icelene Jones is suing Wu-Tang Clan Productions for allegedly not paying royalties to the estate from 2011 to 2021. The suit also accuses Robert “RZA” Diggs’s company of failing to provide accounting statements for the past decade.
Wu-Tang Clan Productions did send a $130,000 check to the ODB estate, according to the legal documents. The estate apparently received payments from Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp in 2019 and 2020 as well, but the lawsuit argues the plaintiffs are owed additional money, including royalties from merchandising and videos.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard was one of the founding members of the Staten Island-based rap group Wu-Tang Clan. Rapper/producer RZA also rose in the music industry as part of the legendary Hip Hop collective.
Following their breakout moment in the early 1990s, Wu-Tang Clan presented numerous projects including the classic albums Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and Wu-Tang Forever. Ol’ Dirty Bastard contributed to both of those releases.
In addition, Ol’ Dirty Bastard dropped solo efforts like 1995’s Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version and 1999’s N☆☆★A PLeASe. ODB is also responsible for hit singles such as “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.”
TJ Atoms plays Russell “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” Jones on the RZA-produced Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Hulu’s fictionalized drama series about the creation of the Wu-Tang Clan was renewed for a third and final season in November 2021.